Tuesday, June 25, 2013

San Gil

San Gil presents itself as the adventure capital of Colombia. It is kinda like Banos, in that you can go rafting, canyoning, paragliding, etc. However, I did none of these things. Not because I didn't want to, but I had a shitty cough and I didn't want the river water to make worse. Instead, I enjoyed relaxing for a few days. San Gil is very nice and has a good vibe.

The perfect breakfast spot on the hostel balcony overlooking the square.

The town.

One the things you can do is visit 'el Gallineral', a park in the town with some beautiful old trees covered in moss that give the place a Lord of the Rings feel.

The park was really nice to walk around. Like everywhere in Colombia, cops were stationed there. One started following me around asking me all the important questions like "are you travelling alone?", "do you have a boyfriend?". You know, information that is clearly important for national security. Seriously, I am getting sick of being asked these questions by every local man who speaks to me. I need some lesbian friends to travel with. Although, that might just encourage them more.

The natural pool (aka: dirty river water pool).

There were also some cool animals. 

I never know if squirrels are native or pests when I see them but they are cute.

This macaw seems stressed and has been picking the feathers on his chest. Poor guy :(

I don't know what these scary looking birds are.

But I saw them again on the walk up to the big cross. The bit on their heads makes them look like knights I think.

 Nice views back down over the town.

This is the main square, where all the trees are.

In terms of veggie places to eat, San Gil is fairly limited. I ate at Elementales on my last day, which I think had an all veggie menu. Regardless, it was really good. Most of the time I made stuff in the hostel kitchen. The fresh market in San Gil is excellent and very cheap.

I shared a room with some American guys for a couple of nights. They were cool and had a van and were driving around South America. Interestingly, this van had Czech plates on it, and looked like it had been doing the Gingo run for quite a while. How it ended up here and has changed owners several times, but European plates remain is a bit of mystery. Still, this is South America. It's not like moving interstate in Oz where you have to change your registration. On one the days, the boys decided to go Barichara, a nearby colonial town. We also rounded up some other Gringos they met drinking in another hostel and off we went. 

This canyon is rumoured (by one of the backpackers) to be the biggest outside of the Grand Canyon. I don't know if this is true or not (and I can't be bothered looking it up), but it was cool. This is where you do the paragliding too.

You can then do a two hour walk down the canyon to another colonial town, Guane.

Somewhere along the way we all got obsessed with taking photos of each other taking photos.

Both towns are very pretty and the walk was really nice, but when you've seen one colonial town, you've seen them all.

This dead bug and the crazy Swiss guys provided a few minutes of entertainment.

Time for a drink with my room mates while we wait for the bus back to Barichara. I had a beer while they had some horrible fermented corn drink. I think locals make it just to see if tourists will buy it. It was truly gross. And yes, two Asian guys and a blonde chick do get a lot of strange looks. 

The next day I headed further south to Duitama for a volunteering project. Sadly this did not work out and I did not stay in the area since it was expensive and not really set up for backpacker tourism. That said, there are two places I would still like to see but couldn't get to. If I end up back down that way, I will try and not be there on a long weekend when no hostels are available. 

So next blog post: Cartagena on the Caribbean Coast.